According to the article Economist: Brain Simulations Will Take Over the Government, and Our Jobs, within 100 Years, by Big Think, we have only a century before humans become almost completely futile. The article explores economist Robin Hanson’s book, The Age of Em: Work, Love and Life when Robots Rule the Earth,” and the possibility of brain emulations.

Hanson’s book explains that emulations, or “Ems,” will scan and record the features of a human brain and then recreate those connections mechanically to ultimately lead to a faster-paced robot that could more effectively execute human jobs. Hanson claims humans will retire to the suburbs while the Ems populate megacities and essentially run businesses and government. Manual labor will be completed by Em’s with robotic parts while Em’s will perform most other duties virtually. The Em’s will essentially process and act according to the brain functions of its recorded human brain. Basically, we can record the brain functions of media moguls, industry leaders, and innovative thinkers and let those brains run the world.

Partially, the idea reflects a dystopian society where humans are unnecessary, the richest of rich use real humans at their advantage, and the many films regarding robot takeover is all too real. However, Hanson doesn’t foresee this possibility of Em’s as negative but instead sees the emulations acting as “giant corporations that will grow within legal means.” What if we could let brain emulations from incredibly talented individuals run the world? What positive outcomes could that lead to?

The Impact Brain Emulations Could Have on Yemen

While this technology is far off, it could significantly impact Yemen. Yemen is still a very rural country, with 68 percent (2010 figure) of the population living a self-sufficient, agricultural life in small mountain villages. According to You Aren’t Hearing About Yemen’s Biggest Problems by Frontline, “90% of the already scarce water supply in Yemen is being used for agriculture – and not very effectively.” Em’s could have a positive effect on Yemen’s current agricultural landscape. How could Em’s solve serious issues within countries that need assistance? Could Em’s more effectively process how to effectively use resources to allow not only the economy but the people to prosper?

These are all things one could hope for, but then the central core of difficulty faces us as a species once more. Will every government, or every industry, have the freedom and access to these brain emulations? I can foresee the positive and negative aspects of such a technological advancement.

Overall, the entire idea is a bit frightening and interesting. Hanson explores the idea that society is entering a new age of more leisure, more democracy, etc. It makes sense that Em’s would contribute to such ideals.

As a Yemeni, I take pride in my country and this planet. I enjoy exploring how new technology can benefit not only my country but the rest of the world.

-Haitham Alaini